The Coffin Model, concluded

Happy Halloween, dear readers! Yesterday we learned about Frisky Funeral Home, and the family who owned it. We learned how Fiona Frisky turned the family business around by getting them into coffin sales. We also heard how Fiona’s twin sister Fedora, despite her awful nature, helped the family sell a lot of coffins by lying inside them as a model.

Alas, at the end of yesterday’s tale, I hinted at a tragedy that happened. Now I’m afraid I must tell you about it in full. One dreary fall day, Fiona noticed that a light bulb in the ceiling of the coffin showroom had burned out. She retrieved a stepladder from the back and set it up on the floor of the showroom, very near the coffin where her sister Fedora lay modeling.

Fedora was on her lunch break, but she was so lazy that she almost never left her coffin during her break. Instead, she kept her lunch carefully concealed amidst the frilly silk that lined the coffins. When lunchtime arrived, she closed the lid of her coffin and ate her lunch there in the dark. Often, she put in her earphones during lunch, too, and listened to music.

While Fedora munched on some cheese crackers inside her coffin, Fiona climbed the stepladder to replace the light bulb. From the top of the ladder, she had to stretch awkwardly to get her fingertips on the old bulb. Without realizing it, Fiona shifted her weight as she stretched her arm upwards. This caused the stepladder to tilt and then crash to the floor. Fiona landed on the hard tile floor a split second after the ladder did.

In her coffin with the lid closed and music blaring through her earphones, Fedora didn’t hear her sister fall. Fortunately, Mr. and Mrs. Frisky heard the accident from the office. They rushed out to the coffin showroom and found Fiona lying motionless. Immediately they called for an ambulance.

Then Mr. Frisky yanked open the lid to Fedora’s coffin and told her what had happened. Rather than being sympathetic and concerned about her sweet sister Fiona, Fedora reacted heartlessly. She refused to accompany her family to the hospital. She said she wanted to finish her day of modeling, and that she would lock up at closing time.

Fed up with her attitude, Mr. Frisky slammed Fedora’s coffin lid shut once more, and then turned his attention to Fiona. She was still alive, but unconscious. When the ambulance arrived, it whisked Fiona away to the hospital, and the paramedics allowed Mr. and Mrs. Frisky to ride along in the back.

At the emergency room, doctors discovered that Fiona had sustained serious internal injuries, and they began to operate on her at once. Fiona’s parents sat helplessly in the waiting room. They called friends and family to let them know what had happened.

One of the people Mrs. Frisky called was her brother. His name was Steven Stiffs, and he was in the funeral business, also. He owned Stiffs Mortuary, located in a neighboring town. Mrs. Frisky couldn’t reach her brother, so she left a message for him.

Steven Stiffs didn’t get his sister’s message until a while later, just after he picked up his hearse from getting the tires rotated. His sister’s voicemail had broken up, so all he gathered from the message was that something terrible had happened to Fiona.

Steven immediately drove to Frisky Funeral Home. He found the place empty, except for a body lying in a coffin. Even as a mortician, Mr. Stiffs hated the sight of dead bodies. He looked only very briefly at the body in the coffin, just long enough to see the birthmark on the corpse’s upper lip.

“Poor Fiona,” he whispered, and then he closed the coffin’s lid quietly. Mr. Stiffs had his son with him, a strapping lad as big as two pallbearers. They decided to take care of the body for the Frisky family. After all, no one should have to bury their own family member.

So Stiffs and son loaded the coffin into their hearse and drove over to the town’s only cemetery. Between the two of them, they dug a grave fairly quickly, and then reverently lowered the coffin into it. Then they finished the job by shoveling dirt back into the hole, covering the coffin with a good three feet of soil.

With Fiona buried, they drove sadly back to Stiffs Mortuary. It took them the better part of an hour to get there, and then Steven Stiffs and his son tied up a few loose ends at the mortuary before driving home. When they walked in the front door, Mrs. Stiffs ran to greet her husband and son.

Tears streamed down her face as she asked, “Did you hear about Fiona?”

“Yes, dear, we did,” answered her husband gravely.

“Oh, isn’t it wonderful!” exclaimed Mrs. Stiffs. “I’ve been crying for joy. She’s going to be ok! She came through surgery fine, and she’s just woken up. It’s a miracle!”

Mr. Stiffs and his son gasped and looked at each other in horror.

At that exact moment, Fedora Frisky was screaming at the top of her lungs, even as those same lungs found less and less oxygen to feed her blood. She pounded and scraped at the coffin lid, shaking and sweating. One particular bead of sweat rolled down her cheek and over her upper lip, washing away a cheese cracker crumb that looked just like her sister’s birthmark.

Thank you for reading!
Brent

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The Coffin Model

There once were two sisters named Fiona and Fedora Frisky. They were identical twins, and they lived in a small rural town in the Midwest. Their father and mother owned Frisky Funeral Home, which occupied a modest storefront location on Main Street. Even though Frisky Funeral Home had no competition in town, the population of the town was so small that barely enough people died to keep Mr. and Mrs. Frisky in business.

Due to their meager income, the Frisky family had to live a very simple, no-frills existence. Their lives were far from exciting and glamorous, but they always had all the essentials: bread on the table, a roof over their heads, warm clothes on their backs. Although they wished they could do more for their daughters, Mr. and Mrs. Frisky were thankful that they could at least provide these basic necessities.

When Fiona and Fedora finished high school, they had very few options to choose from. Since their parents had been unable to save any money for them to go to college, they stayed in town and got into the family business.

As mentioned, Fiona and Fedora were identical twins. They both had long, curly red hair and bright blue eyes. The only way folks could tell them apart was that Fiona had a little speck of a birthmark on her upper lip. However, if you looked beyond the physical appearance of the twins and examined their character, you immediately found great differences. While Fiona was a sweet and caring individual, Fedora was selfish and mean-spirited.

When the sisters began working alongside their parents at Frisky Funeral Home, business was awful. Nobody in town seemed to be dying. At Fiona’s suggestion, the family business branched out from doing just funerals to selling coffins also. In this way, they were able to increase their business’s income significantly. Funeral homes throughout the region came to them to buy coffins. The Friskys also made occasional coffin sales to random, creepy people.

To display the various models of coffins they had for sale, the Frisky family converted part of their storefront into a coffin showroom. Through this addition, Fedora, who barely did anything all day when she was at work, finally found her calling. She knew a nice easy job when she saw one, so she volunteered right away to model the coffins by lying in them.

In this way, Fedora got to have about the easiest workday you could imagine. Every morning she came into work, picked a coffin to lie in, and then crawled into it. She spent the next eight hours lying on her back with her arms crossed over her chest, posing as a corpse.

With Fedora modeling the coffins, sales went through the roof. It was a hugely successful, brilliant undertaking. In fact, no undertaker could resist buying a coffin when it was so beautifully occupied by Fedora Frisky.

For the first time since its doors first opened, Frisky Funeral Home started making steady, sizeable profits. The quality of life of the members of the Frisky family improved dramatically. They got to eat out at restaurants. They got to go on a vacation. They even got to buy a new hearse to replace the 1980s wood-paneled station wagon that they had been using for years to haul around their dead clients.

In short, Mr. and Mrs. Frisky, along with Fiona and Fedora, finally had a good life. If only it had lasted. For, after only a brief period of this newfound good life, tragedy befell one of the sisters.

I am sure now that you are saying, “Please, let it be Fedora who met tragedy.” I wish very much that I could say that, but that is just not how it happened. For it was Fiona, the fair and the sweet, who fell from her ladder when replacing a light bulb in the coffin showroom.

to be finished on Halloween…

Thank you for reading!
Brent

Ichabutt’s Tail, part 4: New Purpose

Yesterday’s story snippet involved a tragic event. We learned how Ichabutt’s great uncle Ichabob met an untimely demise after a piece of farming equipment fell on top of him. Sometimes, however, misfortune and fortune are intertwined.

Such was the case in this instance, for as fortune frowned upon Ichabob, it smiled upon his great nephew Ichabutt. The day after Ichabob was laid to rest at Sleepy Graves Cemetery, his lawyer paid a visit to Ichabutt’s house. There he informed the young man that his great uncle had left him his farm in his will.

As you can imagine, this unexpected turn of events changed Ichabutt’s life immediately. The death of his great uncle gave him a new life. Ichabutt wasted no time in packing his few belongings and moving out of his parents’ house to Ichabob’s farm.

Finally free from the cruelty and humiliation that his parents had dealt him on a daily basis all his life, Ichabutt flourished. He had been at the rock bottom of his life since dropping out of high school, but now he climbed steadily out of that pit by pouring himself into his new farm.

Ichabutt checked out every book on farming available at the Sleepy Hollow library. He determined to learn all that he could about how to raise crops, so that he would be ready to work his fields as soon as spring arrived. When his eyes glazed over from reading, he would go out and simply walk in his fields, simply marveling that they were his fields.

*this tale in hibernation till next Halloween

Thank you for reading!
-Ichabrent

Ichabutt’s Tail, part 3: The Death of Ichabob

When we paused the story yesterday, Ichabutt’s life was spiraling out of control. He had dropped out of high school and was leading a reckless lifestyle, including stealing more pickled eggs than ever. Just when his life threatened to fall apart, though, fortune turned his way. Alas, in turning toward him, fortune turned against another.

Ichabutt had a great uncle named Ichabob. He was a farmer, as well as an elbowless horseman. One day Ichabob was in his barn working on a piece of farming equipment. His horse stood nearby, munching on some hay. The horse grabbed a mouthful of hay, and in so doing uncovered a mouse, who squeaked in surprise.

The mouse startled Ichabob’s horse so much that she leaped backwards. She knocked over the farming equipment that Ichabob was repairing, and it fell onto his chest, pinning him to the ground with his arms at his sides.

Now, the equipment that fell on Ichabob was not all that heavy. Any average, elbowed adult would have been able to reach up and bench press it off of them. Because of his lack of elbows, though, Ichabob could not escape in such a way.

So he lay there on the barn’s dirt floor for days on end as his life slowly drained away. To add insult to his injury, Ichabob loved Halloween, as most people in Sleepy Hollow did. His most prized Halloween decoration hung in his barn. It was a wind chime made up of a real human skeleton that he had come across while plowing his field one spring.

As Ichabob lay dying, the wind chime hung directly in his line of sight. It was October when this happened, and the chilled autumn air rushed through the open barn door, causing the skeleton to rattle almost constantly.

During his long, agonizing entrapment, Ichabob spent hour after bleak hour staring at the skeleton. Even at night he could see it shaking in the moonlight. Most of all, Ichabob’s gaze fell upon the skeleton’s elbow joints as they creaked back and forth, an ever present reminder of the body parts that could have saved him.

to be continued…

Thank you for reading!
-Ichabrent

The Tail of Ichabutt, part 2

When we left off yesterday, a teenaged Ichabutt had just got busted for pilfering a pickled egg from the Sleepy Stop, a convenience store in Sleepy Hollow.   A few days later, he had to appear in court for his offense. Unfortunately for him, the judge assigned to his case was a grumpy fellow who hated teenagers. He gave Ichabutt a severe punishment, sentencing the young man to use a wooden saddle on his horse for the rest of his life.

Soon after that, Ichabutt dropped out of Hollow High School, unable to bear any longer the teasing and the bullying that plagued him constantly. Just as bad, he found no refuge at home, for Ichabutt’s parents were icky butts, to put it nicely.

After leaving school, Ichabutt spent more and more time riding his horse, a painful endeavor now that he had to use a hard wooden saddle under his uncushioned tailbone. His behavior became more and more reckless as well. In fact, Ichabutt would surely have ended up in jail or in an early grave were it not for someone else who did end up in a grave at just the right time.

to be continued tomorrow…

The Tail of the Buttless Horseman

Sleepy Hollow is a quaint little town made famous by one of its residents, a noggin-challenged horse rider. How this man ever got his riding license when he obviously can’t see where he’s going is not for me to speculate upon. My job here is to tell about another of Sleepy Hollow’s citizens.

Another horseman, in fact. That doesn’t narrow it down much, though, as most of the population of Sleepy Hollow is made up of horsemen, horsewomen, and horsechildren. You would recognize this particular man, though, if you saw him. That is, if you saw him from behind, for he had no bottom.

He lost it in a freak playground accident at a very young age. To make matters worse, his parents had named him Ichabutt. Of course, that is not the best name to have under any circumstances, but especially if you are doomed to a bottomless existence.

Growing up in Sleepy Hollow, little Ichabutt had a rough go of it. The other kids at school teased him relentlessly about his missing bottom. As a result, he withdrew from everyone and spent all his free time riding his horse (equipped with an extra-cushioned saddle) along the many trails in the woods surrounding town.

By the time he reached his teenage years, Ichabutt had become an angry young man with a disdain for rules of all types. One of his favorite rebellious acts was shoplifting snacks from convenience stores to take along on his horse rides. Eventually, though, his luck ran out, and he got caught stealing a pickled egg from the Sleepy Stop.

to be continued tomorrow…